MSocSc Development Studies

Year of Entry


Application Deadline

Application Closed

Mode of Study


Mode of Funding


Indicative Intake Target


Minimum No. of Credits Required


Class Schedule

Weekdays (daytime and evenings)

Normal Study Period

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

Maximum Study Period

Full-time: 2.5 years; Part-time/Combined mode: 5 years

Mode of Processing

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Review of applications will start before the deadline and continue until all places are filled. Early applications are therefore strongly encouraged.
Programme Leader & Admission Tutor
BA, Honours (First Class), Murdoch; PhD, Murdoch
+852 3442 6977 (Phone)
+852 3442 0180 (Fax)
General Enquiries
+852 3442 6355
+852 3442 0180
Programme Aims and Objectives

This programme is designed for:

Graduates from disciplines of relevance to Development Studies, including:

  • Asian Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • East and Southeast Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Geography
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Political Science
  • Public and Social Administration
  • Sociology, including Applied Sociology

Mid-career professionals working in development-related fields, including: 

  • Business firms/Corporations
  • Educational institutions
  • Foundations
  • Governmental organizations
  • International organizations
  • Mass media
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Research organizations

The programme caters to local students, as well as overseas students from both developed and developing countries, both within the region and elsewhere.

Entrance Requirements

To be eligible for admission, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements and have a Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline of the social sciences or in a humanities discipline relevant to development studies from a recognized tertiary institution or an equivalent qualification.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in other fields who possess advanced experience in relevant professions will also be considered.  A first degree in a social science or humanities subject would be an advantage.

One or more years of working experience in a development-related field would be an advantage. 

Applicants whose entrance qualification is obtained from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English should also fulfill the following minimum English proficiency requirement:

  • a score of 59 (revised paper-delivered test) or 79 (Internet-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)@#; or
  • an overall band score of 6.5 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS)@; or
  • other equivalent qualifications.

In view of the recent development of COVID-19, ‘TOEFL iBT Home Edition’ and ‘IELTS Indicator’, as indicated below, are accepted as equivalent qualifications for the fulfillment of the University’s minimum English proficiency requirement for admission to TPg programmes with immediate effect for 2022/23 cohort:

  • TOEFL iBT Home Edition: a score of 79; or
  • IELTS Indicator: an overall band score of 6.5

@TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years. Applicants are required to provide their English test results obtained within the two years preceding the commencement of the University's application period. 

# Applicants are required to arrange for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send their TOEFL results directly to the University. The TOEFL institution code for CityU is 3401.

Course Description

There are six core courses:

  • Theories and Approaches in Development Studies
  • Project Planning and Management for Development
  • China and the Developing World
  • Politics & Social Movements in Developing Asia
  • Comparative Development in Asia
  • Master's Thesis/Capstone Project

Plus up to two electives from the following:

  • Special Topics in Development Studies
  • Research Design for the Social Sciences
  • Authoritarian Resilience and Democratic Change in East Asia
  • East Asia and the US: Conflict and Interdependence
  • Cutting-edge Cases in Development under Late Capitalism
  • Environmental Challenges in Asia and the World
  • Human Rights in Asia
  • BRIC Countries and the Emerging Global Order
  • Special Topics in Asian and International Studies 
  • Religion and Development
  • International Organisations
  • Women and Politics in Asia
  • History of the Sino-Japanese Relations
  • Power and Culture in Buddhist Southeast Asia
  • Development Policy and Advocacy
  • Gender and Development
  • Welfare Regimes and Social Protection in Asia
  • Disaster Management, Development and Regional Governance in Asia
  • Indonesia: Politics and Society
  • Labour and Development
  • Infrastructure Development in China
  • AIS Postgraduate Internship
Bonus Features

Students will acquire the ability:

  • To undertake the analysis of current development issues
  • To investigate practical problems using a comparative methodology
  • To plan, manage and monitor development projects
  • To communicate and collaborate with partners from other countries
  • To apply acquired knowledge and skills in a variety of work settings

Development Studies is a relatively new and an increasingly important field of study. But prior to this programme at City University of Hong Kong, it was not taught at all in Hong Kong.

Heads and officers of development agencies, including non-governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations, have publicly communicated their felt need for professional training in Development Studies.

The Programme Leader and other colleagues of the teaching team have ample research, teaching and working experience on a wide range of development issues in various parts of Asia.

Department of Asian and International Studies and Department of Public Policy will be merged to form a new department entitled “Department of Public and International Affairs” with effect from 1 August 2022.
† Combined mode: Local students taking programmes in combined mode can attend full-time (12-18 credit units per semester) or part-time (no more than 11 credit units per semester) study in different semesters without seeking approval from the University. For non-local students, they will be admitted to these programmes for either full-time or part-time studies. Non-local students must maintain the required credit load for their full-time or part-time studies and any changes will require approval from the University.